After weeks of frantic search parties and community prayer services, a missing South Texas man has been found in Northeast Ohio. But what's still unclear is if he wanted to be found at all.
Lee Arms, a 44-year-old man from Falls City, Texas, disappeared on Sunday, February 5. Police found his Ford Focus abandoned on Loop 1604 directly east of San Antonio, with the keys still in the ignition, the driver's door ajar, and the emergency blinkers flashing. The scene stumped detectives: Arms' flashlight, hat, and one boot were strewn outside the car door — the other boot was found 50 feet down the road. All of Arms' personal identification was inside the car, including his cell phone.
What followed were weeks of organized search parties, lead by Arms' wife and friends. Hundreds from the local community, including Arms' three children, joined the hunt, scouring the woods along 1604 for clues. They created a Facebook group. They held a service in a local church, praying for his safe return.
A family friend told KENS5 News
, "He wouldn't have just left that day and not come back. He is somewhere and needs to be found."
But last week Arms' family got a call from the police department in Bath, Ohio, negating that theory. “He wanted to escape his life out there and his situation,” Bath Township Police Chief Michael McNeely told the Akron Beacon Journal
on Monday. According to McNeely, Arms had met someone on an online dating site, and had started a new life in the small Ohio town. He's not coming back.
Arms' family shared their reaction on Facebook
while calling off the search: "This is a very difficult time for us and we are truly blessed to have each and every one of you in our lives."